Four swamis sitting on the waiting bench at Thrissur
wearing big rudraksha beads around their neck.
Their foreheads blessed with a day’s fresh sandalwood and kumkum.
They see me seeing them and their eyes twinkle.
Same platform with rice fields nearby
and my explicit adoration elicits a welcome smile
from the tall woman in a sari of soft pastels
with a shaven head.
Tropical flora that awakens my sensuality,
a wooden gate that catches my eye,
the chai wallah entering my pulse,
and cows always nearby.
Waterfalls and tiny shrines
of Ma Durga, Sri Ganesha
and each vibrant color that offers a reflection
of my Spirit.
Keen to wisdom found on walls,
men arm in arm, hand in hand,
and a most fantastic moustache atop a gorgeous smile.
All become my secret treasures.
A necessity to exhale
as mind lets go,
surrendering to a cell’s ability
to absorb this magic world.
Two men rest under a Banyan tree,
while spotted deer adorn the jungle landscape.
A woman sits upon her blanket
stringing garlands for Diwali.
A snake’s bite on bare feet kills tens of thousands.
Pregnant mother elephant and child
snacking on the side of the road.
I watch without breathing.
Temples as holy places,
and often their walls as a latrine for passerbys.
Amazed at the delight often revealed
even amidst the heaps of trash.
People sleeping on the street and under the train tracks.
What happens when it floods?
Waves and nods
A man wanders through the grasses from the sea,
women wash in the river
sometimes a bucket upon her head,
often with a goat in tow.
I weep like the skies for this planet.
A man struck by a car on his motorcycle,
a mother hits her daughter
heading down the station steps.
I pray to the deities of the South
and to my maternal origin
and to God within all things.
I think of the man from Kashmir with the most exquisite eyes.
Will I forget the helplessness in the gaze of that hungry woman
when the rain was continually falling?
Or the competing shouts for coffee and sambar in a tone so deep and rare when the train begins to whistle.
There is no escaping the wounds of the world, the afflictions of our humankind.
A jungle ignites a man’s trauma from war long ago,
monkeys howl in the trees,
leeches crawl inside my shoes,
and the horizon offers union.
More than twenty types of bananas grow,
and a land of coconuts exist
by the cultivation of warm hands
and the miracle of this Earth.
I found Shiva’s moon
amidst the buses, along the backwaters,
through the chaos,
and within a land of beauty.